Thursday, September 09, 2010

SOFTWARE: Pull Out The Wallet BEFORE Pulling Out the USB Drive

Well, it's come to this. Finally I am noting a product I bought and paid for. It's a fix for something that is incredibly annoying. Ever try to unplug a USB Drive while your file manager is accessing it? Or even if the file manager is looking somewhere else, but you STILL have to close explorer (or your replacement for it), because the USB Drive won't shut down while it is still 'locked' on the computer?

I have and it used to drive me bonkers. Then I found USB Safely Remove. It cost 20 bucks US and the licence lets you use it on all of your computers at home. That's three for me. So, it prorates to about seven bucks a machine here. Great at triple the price.

What USBSR (Didn't think I was going to call it by the full name for the rest of this post, did you?) does is handle the 'unlocking' and shutting down of anything you have connected to the computer through the USB ports. That can include thumbdrives, ebook readers, external drives and even head phones, from my experience. It more or less ignores printers. If it's realistically a removable device, USBSR will do the job.

The icon, which is a big green arrow in the same down to the left orientation as Windows' normal Connected Device icon, is a lot easier to find in the jungle of icons that inhabit my system tray. Hover over it and up pops a window with what you have connected, BY NAME and mostly unique icons, and how many devices are hidden away from normal disconnecting. When I click that, I will see USB Printing Support (two of them for the two Samsung Laser Printers I have) and my MS USB Trackball Explorer. Since I don't plan on pulling the plug on any of them any time soon, figuratively OR actually, these hidden items can remain hidden forever.

Best part of USBSR comes when you DO want to pull out the thumbdrive. I almost always have xplorer2 running, so I make sure it's switched to something OTHER than that drive. (My one concession) Then I hover over the USBSR icon, click on the named thumbdrive, and a second or two later pull the drive when I've gotten the go ahead from USBSR. It's fast, virtually fool-proof and I don't have to shut down and start up any or all windows. For less than the price of a week of Starbucks in the morning, you too can have this convenience.

Now, some warnings are needed. I believe that this product is now dead in the developmental water. The folks behind SafelyRemove are now concentrating on Zentimo, which is SafelyRemove on steroids. It offers more for twice the price. But what that more entails, doesn't actually do anything for me. Things like up-to-date free space and drive speed don't interest me at all. You might have a different opinion. Zentimo is still a new product with an initial 1.0 release recently and beta testing currently ongoing for viersion 1.1. I see nothing in the product that prompts me to upgrade. And I fear for USBSR's ability to exist past Windows 7. But it works fine for everything UP to and including Win 7. And since that covers all Windows users for the moment, I can honestly endorse spending the few sheckels on this product.

I mean, just how good a product does it HAVE to be to get ME, the cheapest of all skates, to actually spend ill-gotten gains on it? Yep, THAT good!


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